What is Disease X and why health experts in UK are warning against it?

Disease X UK: Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen that is currently unknown to cause human disease. Know why UK Health experts are warning against Disease X?

What is Disease X
What is Disease X

Disease X Symptoms: With a string of infectious diseases hitting the United Kingdom in the last 6 months, the UK health experts have warned of the possibility of a new pandemic called ‘Disease X’. The experts, while warning about Disease X in the UK, have also asked the government to strengthen its preparations against the future unknown pandemic. The alarm against Disease X was raised in light of the recent increase in Monkeypox cases in the UK. The country has been battling the Monkeypox Menace with 910 confirmed cases till June 23, 2022. Out of these cases, 873 have been detected in England, 26 in Scotland, eight in Wales, and three in Northern Ireland.

Read more about what is Disease X and why health experts are warning against it in prior?

What is Disease X?

As per the World Health Organisation, “Disease X represents the knowledge that a serious international epidemic could be caused by a pathogen which is currently unknown to cause human disease.”

The organization came up with the term Disease X three years ago to explain a hypothetical, not-known-yet pathogen that could cause an epidemic in the future. In short, the X in ‘Disease X’ stands for everything that is unknown.

Disease X UK: What led the UK health experts to warn against it?

Britain has faced a series of health emergencies in the last six months and as per the health experts, something is on the horizon. The warning by the UK health experts comes in the wake of:

1. Poliovirus was detected in the sewage samples in London last week for the first time in 40 years. The Polio outbreak was declared a national incident and parents were told to ensure their children were vaccinated.

2. Before this, a strain of H5 Bird Flu was found in a human in January 2022, and there were three cases of Lassa fever, one of them fatal, in February in the UK.

3. In March 2022, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever arrived in England after a woman returned to the UK from Central Asia.

4. The month of May saw a major addition to this string of infectious diseases, with the first case of Monkeypox being reported in the country. It has since spread and nearly 800 cases have been recorded so far.

Disease X UK: Warning by the experts

As per the Medical Experts in the UK, we are living through a new pandemic era and Disease X could be just around the corner. Professor Mark Woolhouse of the infectious disease epidemiology at the University of Edinburgh has said that the early 21st century had been a perfect storm for the emerging infectious diseases and everything has been pointing toward the likelihood of more outbreaks.

As per the UK experts, Britain could see Influenza and measles among the next diseases to surge, though the arrival of the next Disease X is almost impossible to predict.

Professor Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, who helped discover the Ebola Virus in 1976, has also warned of more zoonotic diseases, or those that jump from animals to humans, could arise.

The WHO Director-General had earlier said that the UN Health agency had developed research roadmaps, target product profiles, and trial designs for evaluating the tools for a set of priority diseases, including two Coronaviruses and an unidentified disease called ‘Disease X’.

Disease X UK: What can be done to prevent it?

As per the health experts, to avoid another unknown pandemic outbreak, we do need to pay attention, maintain surveillance systems and further strengthen the pandemic preparedness, because in the grand scheme of things COVID-19 was not as bad as it potentially could have been.

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